Wine Dinner with Sir George Fistonich
Tiki’s was very pleased to welcome Sir George Fistonich, owner and founder of New Zealand’s Villa Maria Winery. As New Zealand’s most awarded winery, Sir George has been a major player in putting New Zealand on the wine making map. He brought his more than 50 years of award winning wine making expertise to a very special winemaker’s dinner at Tiki’s Grill & Bar on September 15.
Wine Dinner Dreams
Planning and preparation for this evening began about 3 months before when Michelle Gonzales, our maître d’, Randy Linville, our assistant general manager, Michael Miller, our director of operations and myself sat down with the representative from Villa Maria for a tasting. We drank, we chatted and dreamed about what would go well with the wines we planned to feature. It started with the wine at a wine dinner and the food to match at the end. We trick ‘em out as much as we can but always trying to showcase the wine.
First the First Course
Our wine list for the night was jam packed with some of the best offerings from Villa Maria and their associated brands. Right off we started with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region, a wine that really built New Zealand’s reputation as a wine producing region. That was paired with a couple of raw seafood selections I had planned. After the amuse-bouche we moved on to the 2011 Esk Valley Chardonnay from Hawkes Bay, one of the oldest and best known wine growing regions in New Zealand. We met Ollie Powrie, the Villa Maria and Esk Valley viticulturist from Hawkes Bay last year when he came to host our last Villa Maria wine dinner.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine
The 2011 chardonnay was one that Ollie was particularly proud of and after earning 91 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, rightly so. The grapes come from all over the Hawkes Bay region with some lending the distinct grapefruit flavor that good chardonnays are known for and some that give it a nice fresh citrus finish. I paired the chardonnay with butter poached Maine lobster, summer truffles, creamed Kahuku corn, charred negi and popcorn consume with pepper foam.
We featured a pair of Pinots for this dinner and decided to start with the 2012 Villa Maria Pinot Noir Private Bin. This Pinot has the typical aroma of red cherry with a nice mix of fruit and spice on the palate. I found it was smooth drinking wine that really opens up when you give it a little air. We matched it with a marrowbone board. To the marrow, which is roasted in the bone, we add salt, pepper, top with gremolata, and serve with rye bruschetta points and a quince gastrigue. It’s like buttered toast with jam that you spread with roasted marrow. If you haven’t tried marrowbone before then be prepared for a new addiction. Just remember, it’s about the wine.
A Wine for the Time
The highlight of the evening may have been the 2010 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir. This wine is at its peak right now. We married it with rack of capra. Domestic goat that originally came from Europe or capra, carries a lot more of its weight in prime cuts (tenderloin, striploin, racks etc.) compared to local goat from Hawaii which has the bulk of the weight in the larger, heavier worked muscles (legs, butt, shoulder etc.). While we use local goat for things like curry and soups, for anyone that has tried rack of lamb versus leg of lamb you would appreciate just how tender and how juicy this rack of capra was.
We had a couple more stellar pairings with a full bodied merlot-cabernet-malbec blend with Big Island beef Wellington. This was another sample of Ollie’s work from the Hawkes Bay region. This pairing was Michelle’s idea and the combination of beef, butter pastry and mushroom duxelles is a very old fashioned “ringer” with this type of wine.